- Introduce the dog and cat to each other.
- Get the animals used to each other.
Do you want to get a dog but are afraid your cat won’t like it? Do you have a dog and a cat that are always fighting? Many dogs and cats don’t get along initially, but there are ways to get the two used to each other. Take your time and learn what your two pets need and you can make the dog and cat live peacefully together.
Introduce cats and dogs to each other
Whether you’re bringing home a new cat or dog when another cat or dog already lives there, or you’re trying to get your existing pets to get along better, a good base is everything. Make sure there is enough space in your house to allow both animals to distance themselves from the other. You should separate the two animals spatially for the first few days and therefore need several rooms.
Make sure your dog listens to you. If not, give him a quick refresher course. Don’t let your cat’s first encounter with your dog end badly just because your dog is overzealous or aggressive.
If you’re bringing home a new dog or puppy who doesn’t yet know your commands, you need to be even more careful when introducing them to the cat.
Take it slow. Don’t let the dog chase the cat. At first, keep the two animals separate and wait three or four days before introducing them to each other. Animals need time to get used to each other and to the smells in the new home.
Cats and dogs are more likely to fight with each other or be extremely unhappy if you suddenly force them to be together. Keep them in separate rooms so they can’t see each other until they both calm down.
Mix the smell of both animals by petting the cat first and then the dog or vice versa (while both are still in separate rooms).
Change the rooms you keep the animals in. The purpose of this is that everyone can pick up the scent of the other without the other animal being there. Smells are very important for animals to get to know each other. Have both animals recognize their scents before bringing them together.
Try wiping your dog down with a towel, then place the towel under your cat’s bowl. This will help the cat get used to and accept the smell of the dog.
Let the dog and cat smell each other through the closed door. This will help both associates the new smell with the other animal without the two being able to see each other.
Feed the cat and dog across from each other with the door closed. This forces both to absorb and accept the smell of the other.
Wait until the cat is relaxed and ready before introducing the two to each other. If the cat gets scared every time the dog comes near the door of her room, runs away, and hides, then she needs more time. Once the cat has become accustomed to the dog’s smell and noises, it’s time to introduce the two.
Hold the cat until it is calm and relaxed. Then ask a family member or friend to slowly bring the leashed dog into the room. Slowly let the dog approach you, waiting for both cat and dog to calm down after each step before taking the next. The animals should not be allowed to touch each other, just get used to each other’s presence.
- Only hold the cat if she wants to.
- Put on a long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself from scratches.
- You can also put the cat in a carrier if you lead the dog to her on a leash. This guarantees that the two will not touch each other when they first meet.
Show your animals the same amount of affection. Animals, like humans, get jealous when “the new kid” gets more attention. Show both animals that you love them and that you are not afraid of the other animal.
Separate your animals again. Don’t force her to be together for too long, as this will tire both of you and could lead to stress. Make sure the first encounter goes well and keep it short and pleasant.
- Gradually lengthen these meetings
Continue bringing your dog and cat together until both are relaxed in each other’s presence. Once the cat is relaxed enough, let her roam freely around the room while you keep the dog leashed. After a few weeks, your dog should be used to not chasing the cat and you can let him off the leash.
You can use pheromones, which your veterinarian will prescribe, to help both animals stay calm and relaxed. Ask your vet if synthetic hormones help the animals get used to each other.
Get the animals used to each other
Separate the animals when you are not at home. You should keep this up for a while so the two don’t hurt each other.
Distract your dog if he is acting negatively towards the cat. This includes wild games and barking. Instead of allowing your dog to focus on the cat, give your dog other activities or exercise them.
Don’t scold your dog in this situation. Stay positive and the dog will in all likelihood have a positive connection with the cat in the future.
Reward and praise your dog when he behaves well around the cat. This includes friendly behavior or simply ignoring the cat. Your dog should enjoy the cat entering the room and treat them kindly, not be aggressive or push them too hard.
Say something like, “Oh look, the kitty is here! Hooray!” and sound super happy. In this way, your dog quickly learns to have pleasant feelings for the cat.
Provide the cat with a space that allows it to avoid the dog. A scratching post or a door gate to another room, anything that allows your cat to escape. Cats will generally only attack a dog when backed into a corner with no way out.
Be realistic. If your dog or cat has never lived with another animal, there’s no way they can know how to handle the situation. Until you introduce the two, you won’t know if your dog sees the cat as a toy, prey, or something weird, and you won’t know if your cat sees the dog as something weird or a threat. You have to understand that getting the two used to each other can be a lengthy process.
- Don’t try to favor one animal. Sometimes jealousies cause fights. If the dog sees that the cat is getting more attention than he is, he may react negatively.
- It helps to introduce the animals to each other when they are younger. Young animals get used to living with another animal more quickly. However, sometimes a puppy doesn’t know its own strength and likes to play, so the cat may accidentally get hurt.
Do not leave your two animals alone at home together until they have become accustomed to each other. You don’t want to risk either of them getting hurt when you’re not around. It’s easy and much safer to lock both animals in separate rooms while you’re away from home.